20 January 2012
Last updated at 16:43
An exhibition celebrating the life and work of Prof Stephen Hawking has opened at the Science Museum in London. "Stephen Hawking: A 70th birthday celebration" includes elements of the scientist's working life as well as his life as a science celebrity. Many of the items have not been seen by the public before.
The exhibition includes narrative audio recorded by Prof Hawking and a series of photographs commissioned by the Science Museum. Prof Hawking is seen here in his office at Cambridge University, surrounded by many of the objects now at the exhibition.
The exhibition of Prof Hawking's photographs and memorabilia is the first of its kind. Speaking at the launch, Science Museum astronomy curator Alison Boyle said that unfettered access to the items "has given us a unique perspective on the world's most famous scientist".
"In the display, there are several different strands," Ms Boyle said. With the first drafts of important papers and a number of prestigious awards, "you'll meet Stephen Hawking the scientist". Here is the letter that he sent to the influential journal Nature in 1974 asking it to publish quickly his ideas on exploding black holes.
But another strand is "Stephen Hawking the man", evidenced in part by never-before-seen pictures from his childhood, university days and early career.
Prof Hawking was unable to attend the launch of the exhibition on Thursday evening due to illness. His daughter Lucy Hawking, shown in the foreground, told attendees: "It's really sad that he can't be here this evening. He would have loved to have been here with you all."
Ms Boyle said visitors could also see "Stephen Hawking the celebrity - maybe the one most familiar to many of us". He was enough of a celebrity by 1978 to be sketched by David Hockney, and the exhibits include the rarely seen portrait.
Prof Hawking has featured in a number of popular television shows including The Simpsons. The model of Prof Hawking's character is on display, alongside an annotated script of the episode.
Prof Hawking is known also as a proponent of space travel in aid of the eventual colonisation of other worlds. Among the exhibits is the blue jumpsuit he wore during his zero-gravity flight in 2007.
The Science Museum's inventor-in-residence Mark Champkins designed this lamp as a birthday present from the museum. It is designed to mimic the swirling of matter into black holes and the spray of light that Prof Hawking first predicted, which became known as Hawking radiation. The exhibition runs until 9 April.